Tag Archives: Scott Russell Sanders


The Herd

Teak gazelles and fat lava

After mentioning Norway and the Yule Nisse in a previous blog I got to thinking…..why do these echo’s of my youth still hold such importance for me?

Looking around our house you will find clues to our past, the living room is a Scottish snug, antlers, comfy sofa, tartan blankets and deep red walls…a direct homage to my childhood in Aberdeen…. but look at the details, and you can read a fuller story of our past. There are vintage Norwegian Yule Nisse post cards framed on the wall – a nod to my time in Norway, as are the pieces of holmegaard and hadeland glass and Norge pewter. There are handsome Russian pre war prints first discovered by Pete through a friend studying Russian at University. Move through to the kitchen and you will find German ‘fat lava’ why? Perhaps because Pete’s family were posted to Germany in the 1970’s – there are carved teak gazelle’s and porsgrund turines, G Plan & string pictures – all reminders of childhood, of sad and happy times.

Look in the pages of any glossy interiors magazine and suddenly it’s all ‘mid century’ and ’70’s chic’ – but for us it’s not fashion that makes us love these things. 10 years ago we were questioned for our dubious taste, no its about something much deeper – we were nomadic children, both moving frequently because of our Fathers jobs. So perhaps these are movable roots? Things that give us a feeling of coming home……when there is no old family home to return to?

I have just read ‘Staying Put’ Making a home in a restless world by Scott Russell Sanders – a really interesting/great read – in it there is a passage on the meaning of the word nostalgia.

To paraphrase & quote – ‘Nostalgia was coined in 1688 as a medical term to find an equivalent for the German word meaning homesickness – On our lips, nostalgia usually means a sentimental regard for the trinkets and fashion of an earlier time, for an idealized past, for a vanished youth.  It is a shallow use of the word. The two Greek roots of nostalgia literally mean return pain. The pain comes not from returning home but longing to return’.

Interesting stuff…….gets you thinking…..

Staying Put – Scott Russell Sanders -Beacon Press, Boston.